Thursday, February 07, 2008

A Fresh Breath of Music

Brotherhood of Breath was a legendary free jazz big band featuring a number of South African artists who left their homeland because of apartheid and some receptive English musicians. I have long been a fan of their Live a Willsau recording on Ogun (which has since been reissued on CD by Ogun). An overly simple description of their music might be a mix of Mingus, Sun Ra with some of the melodic riffs of a Dollar Brand number. Listening to the terrific rhythm of pianist Chris McGregor, bassist Harry Miller and drummer Louis Moholo behind such terrific horn players as Harry Beckett, Mark Charig & Mongezi Feza (trumpets), Nick Evans & Malcolm Griffiths (trombones), and Mike Osborne, Evan Parker, Dudu Pukwana & Gary Windo (saxes), is exhilirating.

Cuneiform Records has been making available some previously unavailable live performances that are quite exciting. I write this as I am listening to Travelling Somewhere, from a 1973 performance in Bremen, Germany. Superficially the music sounds like chaos, but listening one can feel the order in the performances with buzzsaw soloing set against smoldering rhythm and African melodic motifs. Major players here include McGregor, saxophonist' Pakwana, Parker and Windo; and trumpeters Fezi and Beckett. This is one of several fine releases by Cuneiform of Brotherhood on Breath that hopefully let more folks appreciate the legacy of this legendary band.

No comments: